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Climate Change videos: Part I

Filed under: — group @ 9 October 2012

The US National Research Council has been doing a lot recently to expand background knowledge of the climate system and of climate change. In tandem with a new report discussing strategies for advancing climate modeling, they have put up a an introductory web site on climate models (including some interviews with some actual climate modelers).

More comprehensively, they have helped put together a series of videos discussing everything from the definition of climate to attribution of climate changes and future projections. The series is in seven parts, viewable here. There are additional resources here.

We thought it would be interesting to have a separate post on each of the seven videos so that discussions on the videos themselves, or the topics covered (or not) could be more focused. So, with no further ado, here is part I: “What is Climate?”


96 Responses to “Climate Change videos: Part I”

  1. 51
    prokaryotes says:

    The video description are missing a notice about content and specific topics. A link to a website covering each single video more indepth would be great.

  2. 52
    tamino says:

    Re: #49 (John P. Reisman and Gavin’s response)

    I think that it is important that we acknowledge that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ communication strategy

    Of course not. Nobody suggested there was.

    The existence of different ways to “scaffold” information is no excuse for a boring script and even more boring narrator, or for a disconnect between graphics and exposition. Let’s not say “it’s different” to avoid facing the truth: it’s bad. That’s a cop-out.

  3. 53
    Isotopious says:

    Well, President Ralph J. Cicerone, seems to think orbital eccentricity is the main component of the glacial/interglacial cycles of the late Pleistocene epoch.

    You really can’t get any more “out of touch” of the peer reviewed literature than that! It’s almost as bad as Muller’s chocolate milky way spiral theory. What the hell, maybe it’s the orbit of the ice giant Uranus?

    Source: http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ocga/testimony/Basic_Science_and_Physics_of_Climate_Change.asp#TopOfPage

    [Response: Don’t be silly. He clearly says the “100,000 yr cycle” is related to eccentricity – which is probably true. – gavin]

  4. 54
    SecularAnimist says:

    It’s interesting to compare and contrast these videos with this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lgzz-L7GFg

    It’s an excerpt from the educational documentary “The Unchained Goddess”, one of four films produced by Frank Capra for Bell Labs for their television program “The Bell Telephone Hour”.

    This film was made in 1958 — a half-century before “An Inconvenient Truth”.

    The films were shown in school classrooms for many years. I remember watching two of them, “Our Mister Sun” and “Hemo The Magnificent”, multiple times in grade school, but I don’t recall ever seeing “The Unchained Goddess”.

  5. 55
    Radge Havers says:

    As a video brochure, it kind of is what it is. I’m one of those people who passes a booth and picks up one of every brochure and then wonders why when I get home and look at them.

    Having said that, I cheated and went ahead and looked at chapter two, something I probably wouldn’t have bothered to do on the basis of chapter one alone, and was actually more engaged by it. 

    Perhaps chapter one is a little ambitious for 4 min.; introducing the series, introducing climate, and introducing climate science.

  6. 56
    Jim Larsen says:

    Asking scientists to communicate to the public on their own is unwise. Actors, writers, and insurance analysts should be added to any team.

    Make it personal, with individual stories about people like us. People feel bad about 3rd-worlders dying, but that only motivates a check to an aid agency. Perhaps an elderly Florida woman watching TV and worrying about a hurricane, as the $50,000 a year insurance premiums were a tad too steep. Or a Phoenix resident, “I bathe once a week even though that exceeds my water ration, as cleanliness is more important than saving money on over-use penalties. And besides, it got down below 90 degrees last night, so I didn’t sweat as much.”

    Brutal, personal, money-focused, and unscientific but 100% based on science. Sneak in some facts, but the story has to compete with Hollywood; Lindzen and Dan Hs exist – so any facts will not be accepted, and many folks can’t add, let alone multiply without a calculator.

    If it ain’t dollars, numbers aren’t relevant to many folks. I remember tutoring disadvantaged kids. They couldn’t understand math – unless I used the word “dollar”. Then they got it.

    Avoid mentioning “average degrees of warming”, and never in degrees C. Folks who can’t do math and couldn’t tell you what Celsius is NEED you to do the conversion for them – and conversion includes from “average” (yawn, and irrelevant) to “extreme” (VERY relevant). Start off with “Unless we stop spewing carbon, the planet will likely warm by 3 degrees.” and everything else you say is banging against a closed mind, as nobody in their right mind gives a flip about 3 degrees F, and everyone knows F is how temps are measured.

    Remember the stereotypical Ugly American Tourist, “How much is that in real money?”. Make your videos with that tourist in mind. Even this blog should be Fahrenheit, pounds, and gallons (Put SI values in parens afterwards). Talk the language of your AUDIENCE, not your peers.

    28 Dan H said, “Richard, While most climate scientist would agree that human actions are changing the climate, they disagree on the extent of those changes.”

    Great example of what Richard was warning about! To end there is highly misleading, as you don’t even identify which uncertainty tail is larger. Note that Richard never touched on extent of changes at all, but merely stated that most scientists say immediate action is needed. Thus, your comment should probably read:

    “ABSOLUTELY TRUE, but climate scientists don’t agree whether the effects of BAU will be gawdawful or merely terrible. Personally, I think that nearly all climate scientists are incredibly wrong, as it’s probable that the changes caused by our continuing to increase emissions for the next 50 years will either be minimal or beneficial. There’s even a couple of over-the-hill climate scientists who agree with me.”

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, and if so, provide some sort of cite saying that, say 20% or more of CLIMATE scientists think immediate action is unneeded.

  7. 57
    Chris Colose says:

    John Reisman-

    Thanks for your comment. The issue is not avoiding advocacy, but rather the ability to deliver an accurate yet passionate and compelling storyline. Climate change is not just a scary topic, but rather a fascinating interplay between fields that intersect climate, geology, biology, chemistry, ethics, socio-economics, etc.

    Any video segment by an authoritative group like the National Academies should not just fire rapid and half-delivered factoids at people, but try to serve as the scaffold upon which people will build their education, interest, and passion for climate. Try to bring the discussion to the dinner table. A well-delivered video might even inspire a handful of students to join the scientific effort in interrogating the mechanisms that cause the climate to “tick.”

    If you want an example of someone who sounds like he cares about what he is talking about, listen to some of Richard Alley’s talks. Even better perhaps, try this talk by Jonathan Martin at University of Wisconsin-Madison on a subject related to mid-latitude dynamics (the level of the talk is for majors or grad students in the department, but you can notice the articulate nature of his tone, his passion for the subject, and his ability to translate a diagram/equation into something meaningful).

    This is all a very hard task, but there is a considerable amount of literature on the need and proposed mechanisms for better communication to the public. The National Academies is a respected establishment and one that can do much better. I also must agree with Tamino that the “multiple audience levels” issue is an excuse. It is clear who the intended audience was, but it was not delivered to them. What, for example, would my mother get out of a 5 second display of a time-series of “AIRS Mid-Tropospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels?” If I were my mother I would think: I didn’t have time to digest the graph. What is AIRS? What is a troposphere? I’ve heard carbon dioxide is rising but give me perspective on the numbers and relative magnitude.

  8. 58
    Susan Anderson says:

    Thanks SecularAnimist @~54! Fascinating how clear and unchanging those images were. The only thing different was there was not an industrial-strength cadre of yellers to diss the message because of the hyperbole. Though at this point we realize glass-bottomed boats might not be practicable given the accumulating damage we are inflicting on ourselves.

  9. 59
    owl905 says:

    The video’s and the presentation angle is fine – a tad flat in tone, but just fine. The angst in the constructive responses appear to be based on its failure to bash any pro-pollutionist drivel; and the ‘buddwaddabout’ crowd offers up nothing substantial to hurt it. If there’s a shortcoming, it’s illustrated in the replies – positions among those who have given the danger more than lip-service have already built their bunker: the video won’t change any positions. May Gawd have mercy on our brains.

  10. 60
    Keith MacDonald says:

    As a non-scientist who doesn’t need convincing of the facts of AGW, I think these videos are very worthwhile. However, the first chapter is disappointing, because it fails to give a strong enough reason to watch the others. This is reflected in the number of views on youtube, where the first chapter has been seen by more than twice as many people as subsequent ones. It would be better if the first chapter finished with an explanation what each of the other episodes was about, or there was a chapter 0 which did that (“this is what we’re going to tell you”). The final chapter would benefit from a summing up as well (“this is what we’ve told you”).

  11. 61

    How a tool is used and how skillful the user can be a determining factor in effectiveness. These are great videos for showing the basics of ‘how we know what we know’ to a non-scientific audience. Good or bad is a subjective contextual perspective and can be based too easily on opinion.

    Using these types of tools and similar methods I can turn 90% of a crowd of skeptics into a crowd saying: ‘this is serious, what can we do’.

    If others communicating climate science are not achieving such results they might consider questioning their communication tools and techniques?

    These videos are objective, well structured, and evenly toned (ref. post #49). They are there for you to use to supplement communications.

    For more exposition read the booklet: Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices

    If you want more exposition than that you might explore the IPCC AR4, AGU, EGU, EOS publications, David Archers excellent video series, the index section of RealClimate, other reliable sources, etc. This particular video is too short to tell the ‘whole’ story. It is an overview based on the findings of the ACC reports.

  12. 62
    Hank Roberts says:

    > the number of views on youtube, where the first chapter
    > has been seen by more than twice as many people

    It’be interesting to know how many watched it through rather than clicked in and out. I found I quit watching quickly but left the audio on to the end and occasionally clicked back to the video to see if I was missing anything. The presentation definitely sounded and felt like 5th grade instructional material, like it was using big words to be impressive while trying to greatly simplify the points being made. Took me right back to the 1950s.

  13. 63
    tamino says:

    Good or bad is a subjective contextual perspective and can be based too easily on opinion

    I guess I’m as good a singer as Barabara Streisand ever was — because it’s just a “subjective contextual perspective.” This is nothing but the lamest excuse so far for the poor quality of the video.

    I remember a few months ago Robert Luhn (of NCSE posted to an email group about what he called a “terrific new video” about global warming. So I watched. It wasn’t terrific, in fact it was mind-numbingly boring. In the background you can hear people clanking silverware on their dinner plates and talking amongst themselves while the speaker was talking. As the video went on, the background noise — especially the audience’s conversation — got louder. That’s not a “subjective contextual perspective,” it’s a fact. It’s also exactly the response we can expect from John Doe to this video.

    You can bet your ass that doesn’t happen to Christopher Monckton when he speaks. Even those who know what a sham he is, pay attention.

    This is serious business, people. We’re in a fight for our lives. We cannot afford to treat a video presentation, whoever it’s from or whatever its purpose, like a 4th-grader’s art project that we’ll stick on the refrigerator door and brag about to the neighbors, so little Johnny will feel good about himself. We have to get tough, we have to get critical, we have to demand the best from communication efforts, and when an effort falls flat we have to face the truth and go back to square one. This video is a failure. My message to the National Research Council: if you want to do something meaningful to educate the public, go back to square one. And this time, raise the bar.

  14. 64
    Radge Havers says:

    John P. Reisman @ 61

    Point taken, however to reach those for whom YouTube is a stand alone experience, the opening especially matters. Problems arose pretty quickly for me (and I admit I’m peevish on this kind of thing) with the weak handling of titles which, as it turned out, were important to orientation. It went downhill for me from there. It got better with repeat viewing, but you shouldn’t have to do that.

    Expect that people may come in to it interested but not necessarily highly motivated and probably a little distracted while they decide whether it’s worth changing gears to settle into the presentation.

  15. 65
    Aaron Lewis says:

    There was a time when every educated person was expected to be able to communicate effectively, and that included scientists.

    Now, the people swaying public opinion tend to be folks that do not care about science, and effective communication is considered “advocacy”, and disdained by “scientists”.

    One of the jobs of each and every scientist is to teach. If your students are not locked in the classroom, then teaching means that the teacher must effectively communicate. The NAS/NSF should be a model for excellence in communication.

    Communication is more than reciting facts. It is engaging people so that they remember the information. Communication requires involving people on at an emotional level.

  16. 66
    Dan H. says:

    Jim,
    Here are the results of a recent survey of AMS members:

    http://www.ametsoc.org/boardpges/cwce/docs/BEC/CICCC/2012-02-AMS-Member-Survey-Preliminary-Findings.pdf

    89% or respondents indicated that they felt global warming was happening (only 4% responded that it was not). 59% responded that the primary cause was human activity, with another 11% indicating that it was a combination of human and natural causes. 76% of those respondents felt that the consequences will be very (38%) or somewhat (38%) harmful. 72% were very or somewhat worried about global warming, while 28% were not very or not at all worried. (The last three responsed were only applied to the 89% who felt that global warming was happening).

    Therefore, 64% of AMS repondents indicated that they were very or somewhat worried about global warming. The specific question you posed about need action was not part of the survey. Does this adequately suffice your request?

  17. 67

    Re. #56 Chris Colose

    First I must say that anything I say here is not a representation of the position of, nor from, the NAS, NRC, or BASC.

    Chris, I appreciate your comment and everyone’s concern. The problem is passion and advocacy. An impassioned video could be interpreted as a type of advocacy. The NAS/NRC as pointed out in post #49 is not in the business of advocacy.

    I’ve got plenty of more entertaining ways to tell the story and I have 3 film treatments ready to roll. I’ve got 60 new concept pieces as well. Some communications can come from authoritative sources, some can come from creative methods that are outside the box. There is room for many ways.

    #63 tamino

    I understand your passion and that this is serious business. But this is not a bad video. In fact it’s a great video for it’s defined purpose and from its defined basis.

    It’s not the video you want. Feel free of course to make your own. I will make more as well. But I repeat, “the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council are not in the business of advocacy but rather providing objective scientific information.”

    But I’m not kidding about my post #61. I’ve done some pretty boring presentations and I win skeptical crowds with those presentations. If what you’re doing wins the skeptics minds then more power to you, if not, maybe a reexamination of method or technique is in order.

    Yes, we should demand the best from communication efforts, but that does not mean that every communication has to meet anyone’s personal standard of what it should be. You might think I’m a bad communicator? But if I’m a bad communicator and I can regularly turn 90% of a crowd, then I’d like to meet a great communicator so I can improve. Maybe you can get me in touch with some?

  18. 68
    Jim Larsen says:

    66 Dan H said, “Here are the results of a recent survey of AMS members:”

    Irrelevant information. We’re talking about climate scientists, not laymen.

  19. 69
    tamino says:

    Re: #67 (John P. Reisman)

    I repeat, “the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council are not in the business of advocacy but rather providing objective scientific information.”

    Irrelevant to my objections, I made none based on the presence or absence of advocacy.

    I’ve done some pretty boring presentations and I win skeptical crowds with those presentations.

    Color me skeptical. My guess: either your presentations are not as boring as you suggest, or you’re not winning the crowds like you think you are.

    Note: if you use a boring video (like this one) but the rest of your presentation is engaging and interesting, you might well “win the crowd” in spite of the video, rather than assisted by it.

    As for “meet anyone’s personal standard,” that’s just a repeat of your previous lame excuse. Barabara Streisand sings better than I do, and no amount of “personal standards” or “subjective contextual perspective” will make it otherwise. It’s not about personal standards, it’s about standards.

    Raise the bar.

  20. 70
    Steve Fish says:

    Opinions regarding the effectiveness of the videos are very cheap and, including my own, worthless. Because of the effort put into the presentations it would be worthwhile to have them evaluated by professionals with some different audiences. Collect some data! What a thought. Steve

  21. 71
    Edward Greisch says:

    Better news than the videos: Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor made a joke out of Mitt Romney’s denial of climate change. The joke started out talking about how the 47% suffered in the winter. Then “Romney” says he is going to do something about winter by putting as much CO2 in the air as possible.

  22. 72
    Patrick says:

    I appreciate this set of videos. Brevity helps. You can’t do it all. The graphics are integrated and add a lot, and the option for the viewer to select the sub-topic is a plus.

    They aren’t perfect, but they are easy to recommend.

    Recently, I recommended them to the NPR ombudsman–to educate himself about what is known about climate change. Summarizing what is known is the expressed purpose of the series.

    I added the “Trend and Variation” video from the RC post, “The Dog is the Weather.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0vj-0imOLw&feature=youtu.be

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/the-dog-is-the-weather/

  23. 73

    #69 tamino

    I repeat, my statements do not represent that of the NAS or NRC.

    You can be as skeptical as you wish but I do written polls before and after my presentations and my score has reached as high as 96% turnaround.

    What you say and what you infer are two different things. You said:

    “This is serious business, people. We’re in a fight for our lives.”

    This infers you want more passion from the NAS, NRC. Maybe you would prefer seeing a polar bear running down the street with his hair on fire screaming global warming is people, global warming is people!!!

    As I said, “the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council are not in the business of advocacy but rather providing objective scientific information” and that, I assume and experience, infers the NAS/NRC is not going to inject passion into the presentation of the science. Personally I think this is a ‘very wise’ choice; as doing so would increase the attack-ability of the science by claiming political advocacy. Anything more fanciful would likely have to go through an even more intense vetting process.

    The script comes directly from the ACC reports. Let me emphasize the end of that last sentence. PERIOD.

    This video does a very good job of describing the basics of ‘how we know what we know’. Let me emphasize the end of that last sentence. PERIOD.

    If you are unable to make these videos work for you as support for your communications then ‘you’ are unable to do so. I suppose if you introduce it by putting it down first ‘you’ might not have much success with it.

    And I repeat, if what you are doing is not working as well as what I am doing, try focusing on and reexamining what you are doing rather than attacking what others are doing.

    And I repeat, subjective though the statement may be, this is a great tool. You don’t have to use it if ‘you’ are unable to use it. But wasting everyones time saying it’s lame is still merely your subjective opinion/perspective. And it’s not about standards per se in this case because I know too many professionals that have looked at the movie and feel I did a pretty good job, though many of the accolades exceed what I just said.

    Feel free to repeat your claims five more times to show everyone how adamant you are; and we can waste everyones time in this thread because I can repeat what I said in response.

    You can say the movie is lame, boring and childish; and I can say your claim is lame. Both are subjective. I would argue that your use of a non sequitur argument re. Barbara Streisand is a red herring in this case. How interesting you are using denialist argument techniques. I would suggest that you are also using appeal to argumentum ad populum, argumentum ad ignorantum, possibly argumentum ad odium, and argumentum ad passiones by invocation. And you also seem to be using Barbara Streisand as your straw-woman.

    Have you been taking lessons from Lord Monckton?

    I think the movie is great. That’s subjective. But I can say with reasonable confidence based on the science that the movie is an objective portrayal of ‘how we know what we know’ about some of the major lines of evidence in climate science. The editing is actually quite good, the music transitions and edits are reasonably well timed and the edits also conform to quality standards for narration to edit transitions. I do have experience in this area having worked on a couple thousand productions and having run one of the top 10 production rooms in Hollywood. I’ve done hundreds of radio and TV broadcasts, music videos, feature film (only one), concert productions and recording sessions. I don’t even want to count the rehearsals. I’ve also managed a few acts including The Surfaris of ‘Wipe Out’ fame for their 25th anniversary tour and have done gigs with Waylon Jennings, Stacy Q, Olivia Newton John, Jan & Dean, etc. I’ve done work at MCA Records, Columbia, Sunset Sound, etc. I’ve got a pretty long resume of gigs so I will stop there.

    Note: if you use a boring video (like this one) but the rest of your presentation is engaging and interesting, you might well “win the crowd” in spite of the video, rather than assisted by it.

    Your subjective opinion. Let me emphasize the end of that last sentence. PERIOD.

    And by the way the boring voice is mine. I’ve hosted hundreds of shows and never has anyone called the radio or TV stations I’ve worked at and said my voice is bad or boring, quite the opposite. As stated, the narration is ‘evenly toned’ on purpose. Let me emphasize the end of that last sentence. PERIOD.

    If you want a more passionate movie, make one. Now I will ask you a question I’ve asked many denialists in open threads. If your going to make such lame claims, have the courage and honor to post your full legal name on it.

    lame |lām|
    adjective

    2 (of an explanation or excuse) unconvincingly feeble : it was a lame statement and there was no excusing his behavior.

    Your claim of lame is inappropriate because the script is based on the ACC reports. PERIOD. Neither you nor I are going to change that fact. Other movies might be based on other things. PERIOD. What part of ‘you don’t get it’ don’t you get?

    Regarding your statement “Raise the bar”: How about you realize that there are many different bars and maybe you are hanging out in the wrong one?

  24. 74

    Again, my statements do not necessarily reflect that of the NAS/NRC.

    Now, here are some boring communication keys for climate communicators.

    Ed Maibach said at a panel session I was on at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting:

    “Simple messages, repeated often, from reliable sources.”

    So, use some simple key messages:

    – Humans are causing climate change by burning fossil fuels.

    – CO2 is the key controller of the global temperature (by changing RF if you want to go that far).

    – Climate change is happening now, not in the future, and there is strong data that confirms this.

    – Multiple lines of evidence other than temperature gauges confirm Earth is warming.

    – The vast majority of working ‘climate scientists’ agree on the cause of climate change.

    – There will be impacts but we can choose to have fewer impacts.

    – Converting our energy infrastructure will increase our energy security.

    Pick and choose or apply as needed.

    Repeat as necessary.

  25. 75

    “Ed Maibach said … 2010 AGU Fall Meeting:”

    I think that was 2011.

  26. 76
    SecularAnimist says:

    While this is an illustrated online article rather than a video, I think it is a well-done and effective presentation for a lay audience of what I consider to be the most important things that climate science is telling us today:

    An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts:
    How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces
    By Joe Romm
    ClimateProgress.org
    October 14, 2012

    The single biggest failure of messaging by climate scientists (until very recently) has been the failure to explain to the public, opinion makers, and the media that business-as-usual warming results in simultaneous, ever-worsening impacts that, individually, are each beyond catastrophic, but combined are unimaginably horrific.

    Perhaps someone with the necessary resources and skills could turn that presentation into a video, with additional videos (like those discussed here) on the basic underlying science included as an appendix.

  27. 77
    Radge Havers says:

    Steve Fish–Data would be helpful. But opinions, even unprofessional ones, are not worthless. Turn on your applause (or applesauce) meter. What I’m hearing is that expectations here are high and people are hungry for a home run. They want to be wowed. Unreasonable? Maybe. Under the circumstances, is the need unreasonable?

    Patrick–There are problems with the graphics. I suspect there may be a template issue here, and would suggest that users not be afraid to stretch or even break a template if the material demands it. You’re no doubt familiar with the Grammar Gestapo. You know the ones– they’re always insisting that everyone not end sentences with a preposition (a clue: it’s English not Latin). Well, watch out for the Template Taliban. Just sayin’.

    For whomever, criticism is an art, but doing it well requires specificity, objectivity and skill. It’s just that one of your main data collection instruments is inside you. The idea is to report so that others can compare their own readings. It’s the same basic equipment with bugs, many well known, and a set of tolerances that it takes time to get a feel for.

  28. 78
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://nces.ed.gov/naal/kf_demographics.asp

    Prose Literacy
    14% Below Basic:
    no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills
    29% Basic:
    can perform simple and everyday literacy activities
    44% Intermediate:
    can perform moderately challenging literacy activities
    13% Proficient:
    can perform complex and challenging literacy activities
    http://nces.ed.gov/naal/images/KF_D_Overall3.jpg

  29. 79
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Radge Havers — 14 Oct 2012 @ 11:59 AM:

    Because of the real need I don’t think that it is unreasonable to expect the best of the videos, but as I said earlier, best for whom? We here are not the target audience.

    All I am saying is that we should, like all good scientists, try to be aware of our own presuppositions when judging the videos. Otherwise, we all may become inexpert video denialists and make, apparently, logically consistent judgments that are wrong. How should one make sense of widely differing but reasonable opinions? Find an expert and collect some data. Steve

  30. 80
    tamino says:

    Re: #73 (John P. Reisman)

    And by the way the boring voice is mine.

    Now we know why you’re taking the criticism so personally.

    If you want a more passionate movie, make one. Now I will ask you a question I’ve asked many denialists in open threads. If your going to make such lame claims, have the courage and honor to post your full legal name on it.

    When you can’t take the heat, you resort to what is nothing more than ad hominem. Have you been taking lessons from Anthony Watts?

    Your narration is abysmal, the video is boring, and you are in denial of these facts. If you pay attention to your critics (and I am hardly the only one here) you might learn something, but apparently you’re more interested in protecting your ego than improving the product. Pity.

    Feel free to respond 5 more times. I’m done with you. “Period.”

  31. 81
    Radge Havers says:

    SF @ 79

    OK, but the video has been pinned up on a board for discussion in this forum.

    If nothing else, I would submit that learning criticism is part of learning communication. So, unfortunately it’s an ugly, imprecise process compared to physics even for experts. Which means that as client you don’t want to be too overbearing. But you don’t want to just farm it out either. You do need to be skilled enough to be productively engaged and to provide some oversight.

  32. 82
    Patrick says:

    John P. Reisman: Thank you for your service.

  33. 83
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Radge Havers — 14 Oct 2012 @ 2:47 PM:

    I agree.

    Steve

  34. 84
    SecularAnimist says:

    In my first comment on this thread (#11), I wrote:

    “Who is the intended audience for this video series, and what is the intended effect on that audience?”

    In my last comment, I quoted Joe Romm:

    “The single biggest failure of messaging by climate scientists (until very recently) has been the failure to explain to the public, opinion makers, and the media that business-as-usual warming results in simultaneous, ever-worsening impacts that, individually, are each beyond catastrophic, but combined are unimaginably horrific.”

    I love science. I think it is a great thing in and of itself for scientists to develop educational materials to encourage better public understanding of ALL science — not only climate science, but quantum physics, cosmology, microbiology, genetics, anthropology and on and on.

    But you know what? We have a PLANETARY EMERGENCY on our hands.

    And in that regard, I think the notion that a better public understanding of the basics of climate science will “trickle up” through “the public, opinion makers, and the media” to influence those with the power to do something about that emergency, is really wrong-headed.

    What we don’t need is long expositions of the fundamentals and foundations, which mention at the very end, almost as an afterthought, “Oh, and by the way, this warming we’re talking about could be a problem”.

    What we — the general public — need from climate scientists is to LEAD WITH THE IMPACTS.

    It’s not as though the science isn’t there, or isn’t strong enough, to make some very confident predictions about the “catastrophic” and “horrific” IMPACTS that are coming our way, very soon, if we don’t take urgent action now (and which we are at this point sure to experience to some degree even if we do).

    As I suggested in my previous comment — let’s see some videos, and some articles here on RealClimate, that are firmly founded in the science (Romm’s article points to multiple recent studies), that stress the impacts of anthropogenic global warming that are already occurring, those that are unavoidably going to occur, and those that can, perhaps, be avoided, or at least lessened, if we do all the things that we already know how to do, and already have the means to do, to slow, halt and reverse the warming.

  35. 85

    Again, any statements I make here are my own and not from the NAS/NRC.

    #82 Patrick

    Thank you.

    It takes a lot of work to make something like this. And it’s nice to see that work appreciated. It took a lot of folks and a lot of double and triple checking to put this together.

    #80 tamino, i’m glad your done. FYI asking you to make a movie is not ad hominem and great and lame are still subjective in the given context.

    To all others, I appreciate the constructive criticisms and will bring them up.

    I’m confident more videos will be made on other important aspects of the science. Impacts, and increased depth are things we will see. From different sources and different methods. Scientific sources will be more objective and some may tell the story differently. I don’t think it’s fair to expect any one movie or video to cover all bases in depth though. The well of climate science is very deep and there are many stories to tell.

  36. 86
    Russell says:

    But how can Video compete with traditional Live Entertainment

  37. 87
    Jim Larsen says:

    73 John R said, “I do written polls before and after my presentations and my score has reached as high as 96% turnaround.”

    So a single talk by you which is seen by a substantial percentage of the population would not just replace all other efforts, including this site, but guarantee that essentially everyone who sees it will rally to your side? All we have to do is keep posting links to this one talk (or another of your choosing) and the socio-political problem is solved, right?

    This comment thread is a decent poll-of-the-choir. In this particular poll, the preacher has garnered the praise of a tiny percentage of the choir. To raise that to 96% of athiests is beyond belief. A gun to one’s child’s head might achieve a fake 96% turnaround, but logic rarely changes anybody’s mind, so I’d say your claim equates to being magical. Astounding claims should include verification. Not that it would qualify as robust verification, but perhaps you should put those polls online?

  38. 88
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Jim Larsen — 14 Oct 2012 @ 6:24 PM:

    You say- “This comment thread is a decent poll-of-the-choir. In this particular poll, the preacher has garnered the praise of a tiny percentage of the choir.”

    I did a quick count of, specifically, positive and negative comments about the videos. I excluded repeated posts, arguments about climate data, and suggestions of what the poster thinks is good in presentations without any evaluation of the videos themselves. The count was about equal positive and negative with strong extremes and many milder comments in between.

    Your black and white opinionated comment is typical. Further, John P. Reisman has been a reliable poster here on Real Climate and been working on climate science education for several years. Your opinions about him are not warranted. How about providing some positive suggestions without the nastiness?

    Steve

  39. 89
    Craig Nazor says:

    Whew! I’m a musician (a pianist/composer, mostly of classical works) by trade. I have read plenty of great reviews of terrible concerts, but I’ve probably read even more terrible reviews of great concerts. This discussion has gotten about as hot as any musical review discussion I have ever seen. I’ll bet it’s a human thing. It probably has to do with expectations.

    What are these videos supposed to accomplish? Who is the target audience? It is essential that the answers to these questions are fully understood by the parties involved to have a meaningful exchange of ideas. In this case, it doesn’t seem to me like they were.

    For my expectations, I thought the first video worked pretty well. The visuals were probably the strongest aspect. The text is OK. It is in a textbook style, and not a conversational style, but I found it quite clear and informative for someone who has not thought that much about climate. The clearness will also help those for whom English is a second language (that would be most of the world). The music had a specific use here (not a use that I personally care for), but it did it’s job.

    Would this video have been improved by the use of professional voice actors, a more conversational and dramatic presentation (maybe with multiple characters and points of view), and a score composed specifically for this video? This is the standard for any modern movie. But for that approach to work well, I think the video would have been much longer and much, much more expensive. Then there is the risk that the production values themselves become the subject of the video. The media becomes the message. How would this help?

    I’m also a teacher, and this I know: if one wants to help improve anything, one will have better success if one keeps their comments constructive and positive. I’m sure that all the denier lurkers here have gotten a big kick out of watching the snake devouring its tail… I suppose one would call that entertaining.

    For what it’s worth, I say, overall, pretty good job, according to my understanding of the target audience.

  40. 90
    Hank Roberts says:

    John Reisman’s presentation at last year’s AGU is worth revisiting. You probably know how to find that.

    Are you a consultant too?

    Pointers to public projects and examples of participation — such as John Reisman has made available, for example — are good ways to document your track record, for those who have one.

    See also the earlier video discussion thread: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/05/real-video/

  41. 91

    Speaking for myself:

    #86 Jim Larsen

    It has been said that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing you’ve been doing and expecting different results.

    You can ‘believe’ anything you wish to believe. It is non sequitur to assume that your choir is like all other choirs.

    #87 Steve Fish

    Thank you, good to see a little rationality based on analysis rather than subjective opinion :)

    General comment: What some think I have taken personally, is not what I took personally. If anyone wants to know more talk to me in person at AGU in San Francisco. I will be doing an oral presentation showing how to make a video out of a science paper. Should be fun!!!

    http://www.johnreisman.com/events/15/agu-fall-meeting-2012/

    Now, for those that might criticize this workshop before it even happens, I will not be teachisng anyone how to be James Cameron or Steven Spielberg. I don’t expect attendees to be able to make movies like these famed directors after the presentation. I hope they will be able to easily make their own videos to help communicate the science they are presenting and reach a broader audience.

  42. 92
    Edward Greisch says:

    78 Hank Roberts has it. The audience can’t handle anything any where near as difficult as the video. It just goes whizzing by a mile over their heads. Keep it down to 30 seconds and make it a joke so that they will memorize it and re-tell it. ANY graph is too hard no matter how it is presented. The 30 second advertisement has to be repeated hundreds of times on radio. That costs money.

    Scientists can’t write advertisements. Advertisement writers must be and are are clowns and provokers in order to write good advertisements. Comedians and story tellers come close. A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor is at the right intellectual level. We want our advertisement to go viral on youtube because we don’t have money.

  43. 93
    Radge Havers says:

    A magic hammer would be nice, but a shed full of all kinds of tools isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

    Last comment for me: The link to the play list in the upper right of the opening scene isn’t working for me (I’m on an iPad and clicked from the embedded video). Same deal with the link to Chapter 2 at the end… And… back to the beginning title with bullet points before I finally let go; I have to say it, maybe OK (maybe) for a printed report but elliptic and ephemeral for video.

    Critical Resources:
    critique phrase generator
    creative critics

    Go in peace.

  44. 94

    Edward Greisch @ 92 forgets that “a picture is worth a thousand words” applies to the regular folk he regularly disparages. Misanthropy is a poor platform from which to communicate. Reisman at least approaches his audience with respect and, imho, gets more key information across than he’s being given credit for.

  45. 95
    Patrick says:

    Ditto. O.K., everyone who has seen every bit of all seven videos raise your hand. O.K., now everyone who is a teacher, has been, or would willingly be. If you raised your hand twice, talk to me.

    Part I is what an introduction: that’s what it’s supposed to be.

  46. 96
    Patrick says:

    Chris Colose @57: I trust you have a bright future. There’s stuff on your site, too, that your own mother wouldn’t understand, so don’t call the kettle black. What she “gets out of “a 5 second display” is 1) brevity 2) a visual memory and 3) a new question.

    The idea of “target audience” is not much of a key. It’s a limitation.

    I trust you’ve looked at the “Information Levels” post linked in the text by the respondent @ 49: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/information-levels/

    Maybe you can do something about the described problem. Interactivity can provide access to various levels of information. Little steps are o.k. Think some tiny piece of a computer game.

    The ski slope analogy fits the problem well. By the way, if I’m on the beginner or the intermediate slope and I SEE the people doing the advanced slope, I can understand (a lot about) what they’re doing, even if I can’t do it.

    Thanks for the video you recommend. I already had questions about geostrophic wind. The questions came from–guess what–answers to other questions.


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